Chili Mac and Cheese

Nancy Davidson, photo by Colin Cooke

Chili Mac and Cheese

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Makes 6 servings


1 small onion, chopped

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 pound ground grass-fed beef

Salt and pepper, to taste


2 cups milk

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 1/2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese

1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese

1/2 pound whole wheat pasta, such as shells or elbows

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste



In a medium skillet, sauté onions in olive oil until translucent.

Sprinkle with chili powder and stir.

Add beef and cook over low heat until brown. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.


Preheat over to 375°F. Grease an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with olive oil or butter; set aside

In a medium saucepan, heat milk over medium heat. Melt butter in a medium stockpot. When butter starts to bubble, stir in flour for 1 minute.

Slowly pour warm milk into a skillet a little at a time, whisking constantly. Continue cooking until mixture bubbles and becomes thick, about 8 minutes.

Remove from heat. Add black pepper and cayenne pepper, 2 cups of the cheddar cheese and 1/4 cup of the Pecorino Romano; set cheese sauce aside.

Parboil pasta for 2 to 3 minutes, until still firm inside. Drain and toss with olive oil. Stir into cheese sauce; add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour mixture into the prepared dish. Spread meat in a layer over top of casserole. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese and 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese. Bake until golden brown, about 30 to 45 minutes. Transfer the dish to wire rack for 5 minutes; serve.

Per Serving:

Calories: 450

Carbohydrates: 12 g

Fat: 35 g

Protein: 25 g

Fiber: 1 g

Active Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes